New Jersey

Students Raise $1 Million to Save Catholic High School in New Jersey

What to Know

  • The Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington was set to close when its students decided to try to raise $1 million to keep it open
  • The school has now raised more than $1 million, thanks to a newly formed alumni board and a massive alumni outreach
  • The school should be financially stable for generations to come

Students at a financially strapped Catholic high school in New Jersey have not only met the $1 million goal in their monthlong fundraising bid to keep the school open, they've surpassed it.

The nearly 300 students at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington have been trying to raise $1 million over the past month in an effort to keep the doors open at a school mired in financial quicksand. 

"Everybody is thrilled beyond belief. I can't believe we made it," said parent Cynthia Bennett. 

The school had gotten a week-long reprieve from the Newark Archdiocese as it held pep rallies and passed collection cans. A newly formed alumni board that took charge, spending countless hours reaching out to former students. The massive outreach brought a couple of six-digit donations. 

"It brought our alumni together in a real special way," said principal John Tonero. "We not only have the million required for this year, we've banked money for the future so we're insured the school will be here for several years to come."

"I think God was on our side. He made this happen," he said. 

"We knew they would come through, the neighboring towns would come through, the businesses," said alumna Kathy Kiszka, class of 1970. "Our faith never really wavered. It was a matter of time." 

"It just went to prove what a family Queens of Peace is, and it was important for us to pass this on to future generations," she said. 

Fiscal management was factor in the financial crisis, but declining enrollment is the ongoing problem -- something they hope to resolve in the future.

"Catholic education is always on tenterhooks. Schools everywhere are facing declining enrollments, but in this part of New Jersey, with so many good public schools and taxes so high, it's a struggle," Fr. Mike Donovan, president of Queen of Peace High School, previously said. 

There are still a couple of outstanding pledges that have yet to come in, and that should keep Queens of Peace financially stable for generations to come. 

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